1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moussorgsky, Modeste Petrovich
MOUSSORGSKY, MODESTE PETROVICH (1835-1881), Russian composer, was born at Karevo, government of Pskov, in March 1835, and entered the army at an early age. He came of a musical family, and was himself a talented amateur, and an acquaintance with Balakirev and Dargomijsky led him to more serious study of composition, so that in 1857 he left the army and devoted himself to music, though this step entailed his earning his living as a government clerk and a prolonged period of poverty. His greatest opera, Boris Godounov, based on Pushkin's drama, was produced in St Petersburg in 1874, and on it his reputation stands as one of the finest creative composers in the ranks of the modern Russian school. He also wrote a number of songs and orchestral works, of a realistic national type. In later life he suffered much from ill-health, and died in St Petersburg on the 16th (28th) of March 1881.